The Pledge of Allegiance has a short history of involvement in American civic education. While it may instill pride in the United States, it also presses the question as to the real allegiances of those who say it. Should Christians say the Pledge of Allegiance, or is it at odds with the kingdom of God?
Who Deserves Our Allegiance?
As Christians, should we say the Pledge of Allegiance? This may seem like a simple question with a simple answer, but it is far more than that. As a student who recently graduated from the American Public School system, I can say that we were expected to turn towards the American Flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance every day.
Starting my sophomore year of High School, instead of standing up, placing my hand over my heart, and reciting the statist saying, I stayed seated and respected the others who decided to participate. At times, it was very difficult to go against something that I was doing daily since third grade, but, to me, honoring God is more important than being comfortable.
God deserves all of the glory and honor because he is sovereign and worthy (Revelation 4:11). Because of this, we Christians should glorify God with everything we do (1 Corinthians 10:31) To successfully do this, we should question why we do the things we do, which means we must ask ourselves, why do we say the Pledge of Allegiance?
Allegiance is an important concept to understand. It is the loyalty and commitment to a greater person, group, or idea. Everyone is giving their allegiance to something even if they don’t realize it. There are various reasons people say the Pledge of Allegiance. Most commonly, some say it to show their utmost allegiance to the United States, while others may say it just because that is what they were taught to do.
The Pledge of Allegiance has a very interesting history. Most people are unaware that the Pledge was written in 1892 by a socialist for a children’s magazine to help sell American flags. It was later adopted and made official for the country by Congress in 1942, and it lacked the “under God” part until 1954. As shown, while most people think that the Pledge has a long history and tradition, this is untrue. It was an artificial creation rather than a genuine one.
The United States Government has a tradition of instilling in its citizens the importance of saying the Pledge as part of American civic values. The California Courts and Judicial Branch website states in a 1st Grade Lesson Plan that the Pledge “is a way to honor our flag, country, and united citizenship.”
Honoring and respecting America is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can become a bad thing when we care about it equally or more than we honor Jesus. The Pledge creates a mindset of American nationalism while the Bible puts emphasis on the Kingdom of God above all else.
Isaiah 40:15 states that “the nations are like a drop from the bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales” (ESV). In the end, it doesn’t matter what nation, tribe, or tongue we are part of, the only thing that will matter is that we will all be together worshiping the Lord forever.
In Exodus 32, Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving and recording the Ten Commandments on two tablets from the LORD while the Israelites were making and worshiping a Golden Calf statue at the base of the mountain. Moses was furious when he came back down and saw the idol worship.
When he went back to God the next day, he said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold.” For many Christians, the American Flag has become an idol that has taken our eyes away from God. We need to remember what our highest priority is in life.
Our only allegiance should be going to our King, Jesus. Preacher Charles Spurgeon said in his book, ‘Following Christ’, “If a man is a soldier of the cross and does not show his colors and reveal which side he is on, all his colleagues lose by his lack of decision.
There is nothing better for a man when he is brought to Christ than for him to clearly express his faith and let those around him know that he is a new man. Fly your flag of loyalty” (Spurgeon 109).
Contrary to popular belief, the Pledge of Allegiance is not a relic of our history, rather it is a consumerist product of a socialist mind. The Pledge is also used by the government to instill nationalism in the hearts of the citizens. As followers of Christ, our utmost allegiance should go to him and no one or anything else.
We are to follow and love him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). Spurgeon says to fly your flag of loyalty, and the question is: whose flag are you going to fly? The one of the State, or the one of Christ?
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